Solution Engineering: How it can help sell discovery and holistic estimating

Solution Engineering: How it can help sell discovery and holistic estimating


I’m a Drupal Practice Manager at Speed & Function, a web application development company. For over a year, I have been working as a Solution Engineer. That means I’m in charge of bidding on RFPs, estimating new feature requests, running discovery phases to marry clients business to the best platform/solution to hit their pricing and timeline goals. 

The main idea of my presentation is that the additional discovery phase at the beginning of a project can significantly decrease development costs and risks. I am going to share several ideas on how to convince a client to pay for the initial project discovery, which we call Solution Design. 

A typical question is, “what should the result of such discovery look like?” Certainly, it can’t be an entire MVP, because this would bloat the discovery budget and make it not palatable. So, on the one hand, we can spend much less than the total budget and de-risk that total budget. On the other hand, we need at least to get estimates of all valuable features and confirm that we can deliver them on time, on money and meet quality expectations. 

- Can we make some kind of prototype?
- What is the required level of details of the discovery?
- Should we split our estimate by functional features or visual components? 

There are a lot of such questions that I would like to dive into during this session. 

In the second part of my session, I would like to go through a few practical examples, such as delivering marketing websites. Typically, we use Drupal or WordPress. I am going to describe cases when Drupal is a reasonable choice. Also, I’ll compare approaches that one can use to prototype Drupal components, such as UI Patterns module. 

Last but not least, customers and developers often focus on product development costs while overlooking the cost of stewardship (long-term product support). How can we avoid painful migrations in the future and decrease the cost of additional feature development? 

Audience: Tech leads, project managers, etc.

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Vasyl Yaremchuk

Vasyl Yaremchuk

Speed&Function, Ukraine